BSAC Operation Oyster is one of the most significant environmental projects launched by BSAC. It is a fantastic way for members to start diving and snorkelling with a purpose. This year is all about diving, snorkelling and collecting data for this project. And we need your help.
Last year Project Lead and BSAC Expeditions Advisor, Andy Hunt, went diving around the Isle of Wight with Dr Luke Helmer who is Restoration Science Officer for the Blue Marine Foundation and a world leading expert on the native flat oyster.
In the video above, Dr Luke and Andy explain why this species is rare and how recording locations of native oysters (dead or alive) when you are out diving, snorkeling, paddling or walking along the shore can be used to help inform where we can restore the species back into the environment.
In conjunction with its partners, BSAC is taking action to help restore the UK’s vulnerable native oysters with a large-scale BSAC environmental project. Working in partnership with the Zoological Society London (ZSL), University of Portsmouth, Blue Marine Foundation and Seawilding, BSAC Operation Oyster is set to be one of the organisation's largest marine environment initiatives to date.
The UK’s native oyster, Ostrea edulis, has declined by 95% over the past 200 years due to historical overfishing, disease, pollution, and habitat loss. This decline also has consequences for the wider environment and climate change, with oyster habitats playing an essential role in filtering seawater and boosting biodiversity.
By working with divers and snorkellers to help monitor and report on any native oyster sightings, Operation Oyster aims to ultimately help in the long-term restoration of their habitats around the UK.
All data gathered by divers, snorkellers and BSAC clubs will directly feed into research and a greater understanding as well as protection for this vulnerable but vital species.
How to get involved in Operation Oyster
Clubs, divers and snorkellers can choose to organise their own Operation Oyster dives or simply incorporate oyster habitat searches into every dive, then report any findings to the project team. Findings can be reported at any time as the project is ongoing throughout the year.
An Operation Oyster webinar is taking place on Thursday 24 February at 19:30. It’s free for members to sign up and will last an hour. This will be a great opportunity to get up to speed on the project and how you or your club could get involved.
Further to that, Operation Oyster guidance and support is available online, and includes:
- Operation Oyster ‘how to’ video guide
- An oyster identification guide
- Online reporting form – where you can report your oyster sighting, including location, depth and typical oyster size. You can also upload photos and videos.